TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Intermediate Edition

I.  Basics

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Chapter 16  Part I

Basics

This chapter looks at the standing or position of God’s people in relationship to God. Probably the most basic aspect of this is that they belong to God, as his people. As such the relationship between believers and God is both a strong one and a close one. This is underlined by them being his family and also his church.

Prologue: God Draws People to Himself

See also:

God chooses people (to be his people)

[Jesus:] If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect whom he has chosen, he has shortened those days.   Mark 13:20  ISV

These verses illustrate that the Bible teaches that God chooses some people to be his, and so to be saved. Yet the Bible also teaches that God desires and provides for the salvation of all people (cf. God invites all people to come to him and be saved). In coming to terms with this “tension” in Scripture, bear in mind that as the Bible teaches both “sides”, the truth lies in both of them, as opposed to a position that is a compromise of both.

God moves people to believe and turn to Jesus Christ

[Jesus:] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.   John 6:44  NET

But among them [believers] were some men from Cyprus and Cyrene who came to Antioch and began talking to the Hellenistic Jews too, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 21The hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22When the church in Jerusalem heard this news, they sent Barnabas all the way to Antioch. 23When he arrived, he rejoiced to see what the grace of God had done …   Acts 11:20-23a  ISV

The people’s belief and turning to the Lord (v. 21b) is attributed to neither how the message was presented nor the people’s own initiative, but to the “hand of the Lord” (v. 21a) – evidencing “the grace of God” (v. 23).

God’s People Belong to God

God’s people belong to him

[Peter, to believers:] However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God.   1 Peter 2:9a  GW

They are God’s people . . .

[Paul, to believers:] God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people.   Colossians 3:12a  CEV

. . . and God is their God

[Abijah, king of Judah:] But as for us, the Lord is our God and we have not rejected him.   2 Chronicles 13:10a  NET

God’s people likewise belong to Jesus Christ

[Paul, to believers:] If we live, it is for the Lord that we live, and if we die, it is for the Lord that we die. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.   Romans 14:8  GNT

God’s People Are His Family

Each believer belongs to the family of God

[Paul, to non-Jewish believers:] Now you who are not Jewish are not foreigners or strangers any longer, but are citizens together with God’s holy people. You belong to God’s family.   Ephesians 2:19  NCV™

God is their Father

[Paul, to believers:] To all those loved by God in Rome, called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!   Romans 1:7  NET

They are God’s children

But to all who have received him [Jesus Christ] – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children 13– children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.   John 1:12-13  NET

Those who accept Jesus and believe in him (v. 12a) are enabled to become God’s children (v. 12b) – born of God (v. 13) into spiritual life.

As God’s children, they are also heirs of God

[Paul, to believers:] And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.   Romans 8:17  NET

God’s People Are His Church

See also:

God’s people form his church

[Paul, to the Ephesian church leaders:] Watch out for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.   Acts 20:28  NET

The term “church” denotes an assembly or body of believers that belong to God. Additionally, it can be used more generally of God’s people as a whole – the worldwide church.

The church is God’s temple, in which God dwells by his Spirit

[Paul, to the Corinthian church:] Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?   1 Corinthians 3:16  NET

He [Jesus Christ] is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.   Ephesians 2:21-22  GNT

Jesus Christ is the ruler of God’s church

But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house.   Hebrews 3:6a  NET

This speaks of Jesus Christ being “in charge” (CEV, GNT, NLT) of God’s house or church – i.e. its ruler or Lord.

Pray for persecuted Christians